How to cope if your wedding’s been cancelled
20 Jan 2021
Psychologist Suzy Reading, author of a new book Self-Care for Tough Times, looks at ways to cope if your wedding has been cancelled
Planning your wedding should be one of those peak life experiences, but the curveball of Covid-19 has derailed the hopes of so many. If you’ve had to cancel your wedding, my heart goes out to you. I am sorry for your very real loss and I am sorry if that pain has been amplified by comments from well-meaning friends and family – “at least you have someone” or “it’s ok, you just have to wait”. Toxic positivity looms large right now and it genuinely adds to the burden. Having to cancel your wedding, change your plans or put your plans on hold are all valid reasons for grief and in naming the emotion, I hope in some sense it makes it easier to understand and heal. We grieve not just for the loss of life but for lost imagined futures, hopes and dreams. Despite the very real distress caused, there are things we can do to help us process and move forwards.
Suzy Reading, author of new book Self-Care for Tough Times
Let’s look at three steps to help you cope.
Feel all the feels. You have every right to feel all your feelings but what we do with them makes a big difference to us and the people around us. The healthy way to manage your feelings is to acknowledge them, allow them and process them. It is genuinely true that the only way out is through. Give yourself time to notice your feelings, make space for them, if you can, name them and express them, either with a trusted friend or family member, or via a spot of cathartic journaling. Sometimes a wordless release will do – exorcise it out with some vigorous movement, time in nature, soothe it away with gentle massage or breath work, like lion breath (breathe in through your nose and exhale with a roar, sticking your tongue as far out as possible). These strategies will help you dissipate the energetic charge of your emotions and you’ll feel lighter and brighter for it.
Focus your mind on what you can control. Ruminating over dashed plans and all the things that lie beyond your influence only fuels your frustration. Remember, if it is beyond your control, no effort, wishing or cursing is going to make a difference, so it is a waste of your time and energy. Bring balance to your thinking and purpose to your actions by asking yourself – “what can I do something about?” Are there aspects you can plan now even if you can’t predict timings, can you modify your plans to make it accessible sooner, or can you divert your attention to another aspect of your life of personal resonance. Remember, it won’t be like this forever.
Remember what’s important to you. Spend some time reflecting on what matters most to you and you’ll find this is the very stuff that helps us find our grit and grace, to get creative and respond in a constructive way to evolving variables. Dig a little deeper and ask what lies beneath your emotions. If you’re feeling anger and disappointment, say for example, about a precious member of family missing out on being part of your special day, often underneath it lies a great reservoir of love. Connecting with our values and acknowledging the richness tapestry of our emotions can help us tap into a feeling of gratitude, which ultimately helps us make peace and move forwards.
About the author
Suzy is a mother of two, an author, Chartered Psychologist and Coach. She specialises in self-care, helping people manage their stress, emotions, and energetic bank balance. It was her life experience of motherhood colliding with the terminal illness of her father that sparked her passion for self-care which she now teaches to her clients, young and old, to cope during periods of stress, loss and change and to boost their resilience in the face of future challenges. Suzy is on the editorial board for Motherdom Magazine, the psychology expert for wellbeing brand Neom Organics and is a founding member of the ‘Nourish’ app. She figure-skated her way through her childhood, growing up on the northern beaches of Sydney, and now makes her home in the hills of Hertfordshire. Her first book The Self-Care Revolution published by Aster came out in 2017, Stand Tall Like a Mountain: Mindfulness & Self-Care for Children and Parents and The Little Book of Self-Care came out in 2019 and her new book Self-Care for Tough Times is hot off the press. Her first children’s book This Book Will (Help) Make You Happy by Wren & Rook comes out in January 2021.